Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Chez Sophie Revisited


Sister #3 has visited Montreal and New York City in the last couple of months.  This is wonderful for her but poses a problem when you are trying to decide where to take her out for a birthday supper that is special, unique and will delight her. I was thinking that the warm and cozy ambiance of Chez Sophie at 248 avenue de la Cathédrale would do the trick.

The extensive menu is full of surprizes. She had decided upon quiche when she discovered that there were also crepes and opted for the latter. The crepes themselves were perfect in their thinness and lightness and were bulging with smoky, rich salmon and then topped with drooly slices of Camembert.

Sister#2 ordered the Alsatian pizza, at my prompting. The Alsatian region of Europe brings together France, Germany and Italy.  Alsatian wines have long been our favourite because they taste to us like a perfect blend of French and German white wine.  So too, the pizza has a regional French twist with the inclusion of a creamy bechamel sauce instead of a traditional Italian tomato based sauce.

Our Mom had her eyes on the accompaniments more than the entree itself.  The three sisters love the fine taste of bread and this trait could certainly come from Mom, as the little pan buns fresh out of  the oven were a big attraction.  The big mixed salad was also tempting and so we helped her chose a quiche which would deliver it all. She took most of her quiche Lorraine home for her next day lunch.

I too had eyes bigger than my tummy.  Having savoured the bun, the salad and the beautiful little casserole of potatoes in cream and topped with cheese, I could only manage a single bite of my fried Camembert.  That taste was delicious but was even better when I took it home and had intermittent nuggets of it all through the next day, for the dish was so very rich.

Service was perfect as usual.  I almost always have the same beautiful, bilingual server take care of me.  She is proud of the food served at Chez Sophie’s and is willing to be translator between we Anglaise and French Chef/Owner Stephane in the kitchen. The restaurant was absolutely jammed early on a weekday night so pick your times carefully. But do not miss out on one of St. Boniface Winnipeg/s little gems.

It turned out that Sister #3 had a heavy cold and just wanted to get home to bed. But did she enjoy her birthday treat?  I am sure of it because  one of her beautiful and unique character traits is that she is so easy to pamper and delight.

Chez Sophie Bistro & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quotes: “The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…”-M. F. K. Fisher

Love-that is all.

Birthday Steaks and Mock Apple Pie


When it was J1’s family birthday dinner recently, I was surprized when he asked for a steak supper.  After all, he works part time as a dining room server at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, wouldn’t he have had his fill of red meat?  Apparently not.

D went to great lengths to select the chicest of cuts.  Nothing was too good for our son on his 25th birthday.  The selection of Angus Beef meant that the steaks were beautifully marbled and oh so tender.  Since I am the daughter of a meat man, I know that marbling contributes to taste and aging enhances tenderness.

The Cutco steak knives that I took out of their wrappings for the evening certainly impressed.  J1 demonstrated just placing the knife on top of his steak and the utensil sliding through (with no effort on his part) to produce a perfect forkful.

Also on the menu were all of J1’s favourites: baked potatoes topped with real bacon, green bean casserole and herb pull apart loaf.  The heart image below is a random piece of the loaf-I kid you not! For dessert though I was stumped as J1 is not a cake guy but I remembered chatting with a friend about a Mock Apple Pie recipe and had to give it a try.

Would you know that it was filled with zucchini from this photo?

Zucchini Mock Apple Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Fooled ya!
  • 6-8 c zucchini, peeled and cut into "apple-sized" pieces
  • ¾ c sugar
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • ¼ t cardamom
  • 1½ t cream of tartar
  • 2 T corn starch
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t vinegar
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 pie crusts (I cheat and purchase frozen Tenderflake)
  • ½ t sugar, topping for crust
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Follow package directions t defrost pie shell.
  3. Cook zucchini in boiling water until barely tender (about 2 minutes).
  4. Cool and drain. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible with paper towels.
  5. In a bowl, well toss zucchini with sugars and all other ingredients from list stopping with the salt.
  6. Fill the pie shell with mixture.
  7. Dot with butter, drizzle with vinegar.
  8. Top with second crust.
  9. Create steam cuts in the crust.
  10. Dust with sugar.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes at 425.
  12. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking about 45 minutes.Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

D said with amazement at a taste of the pie: “Well this proves that you can put sugar and cinnamon on anything and it will taste good!”

Kath’s quote: “Every year the number of new cookbooks increases, but in spite of them the progress made in this most useful of the arts is not ever overpowering. On the contrary, we must regretfully admit that nowadays people no longer prepare the fine and nourishing dishes that our mothers used to make.”-Anna Dorn, Cookbook Author (1834)

Love-that is all.

Arkadash Bistro and Lounge


Before D and I were married, I lived in four different downtown apartments all within about 4 blocks of each other  and I came to know the area south of Portage Ave. as my neighbourhood.  I went to school, worked, grocery-shopped, dined and attended a myriad of artistic events all within walking distance.  For much of this time, I didn’t own a car but I could perfectly manage to obtain everything  I needed and wanted, without one. Every once in a while D and I are tempted to choose this lifestyle again and now a days there are even more reasons to draw us back to downtown living.  I have had an opportunity to tour The Avenue apartment building recently including their splendid roof top space and could easily see myself nestled in, right on Portage Ave.

This fantasy might mean that Arkadash Bistro and Lounge could become our neighbourhood hang out.

As soon as I walked into the sleek space, I was reminded of the long  and narrow bistros of the East Village of New York city.  The decor of Arkadash is so sophisticated that it could easily hold its own in the Big Apple.  I understand that the husband of the chef was the designer/architect for the make over and my high praise goes to him and his space.

But to the food!

Lunch began with a little basket of focaccia bread with olive oil for dipping and this delicious soup of the day.  Too much time has past since this visit to remember what it was, but I do recall a spicy chili taste.

One friend chose the pulled pork.  Even though this photo doesn’t do the dish justice, I am happy to see that Chef Karen doesn’t disguise the savoury taste of slow cooked Berkshire pork with an unnecessary barbeque sauce.  The moist taste of good pork is velvety and distinctive when prepared properly and this was.  The meat was served with corn tortillas to wrap it up.

Another friend selected the Turkish grilled chicken which she enjoyed with the couscous.  Both these dishes were accompanied by baked vanilla pumpkin which received kudos.

I tucked into this lunch feature of grilled scallops with a simple pasta.  It was just my cuppa tea as the sweet meat of the scallop was all I needed with a spear of butter- tossed pasta (no sauce required).  Everyone agreed that the local ingredients and preparation was exceptional but we all wondered why the food was not piping hot.  In all honesty it was luke warm.  This is in the small points department, but hot food is a  basic dining expectation.  I look forward to visiting again when I am sure this will be different.

I will return as I am eggplant obsessed and intrigued by the starter of “Toenail of a Dog”, and the entree of “Imam Baldi”.  I had the pleasure of meeting cousins and restaurant partners Karen and Kelvin and we spoke at length about their commitment to local ingredients and serving the neighbourhood.  They have exciting plans ahead for the service of High Tea along with their continued offerings of jazz on Friday evenings in the lounge.

Arkadash Bistro and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:
“Manhattan is a narrow island off the coast of New Jersey devoted to the pursuit of lunch.”-
Raymond Sokolov

Love-that is all.


Pumpkin Crunch


Our plans are in place for Thanksgiving weekend and I have my assigned dishes to prepare at “Life is Good” and then wrap and carry to “Kappy’s Korner” where we will all assemble.

This will likely be the last Thanksgiving dinner spent in this way as Sister #2 and her husband will have their neighbouring cottage completed by this time next year.

I think that the great room in that locale was designed especially with extended family dinners in mind.

The biggest hit most years is Sister-in-law #2’s Pumpkin Crunch Dessert.  This year, I am actually remembering to post her recipe in advance o that you can make it for your festivities if you wish.  39 of my family members think that it is the best thing to happen to Thanksgiving dinner.


Pumpkin Crunch
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (16oz) solid pack pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 c sugar
  • 4 t pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • 1 c melted butter
  • Whipped topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease bottom of 9×13 pan.
  3. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl.
  4. Pour into pan.
  5. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture.
  6. Top with pecans.
  7. Drizzle with melted butter.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden.
  9. Cool completely.
  10. Serve with whipped topping.
  11. Refrigerate leftovers.

Kath’s quote: “Pumpkin pie, if rightly made, is a thing of beauty and a joy – while it lasts…..Pies that cut a little less firm than a pine board, and those that run round your plate are alike to be avoided. Two inches deep is better than the thin plasters one sometimes sees, that look for all he world like pumpkin flap-jacks. The expressive phrase, ‘too thin’, must have come from these lean parodies on pumpkin pie. With pastry light, tender, and not too rich, and a generous filling of smooth spiced sweetness – a little ‘trembly’ as to consistency, and delicately brown on top – a perfect pumpkin pie, eaten before the life has gone out of it, is one of the real additions made by American cookery to the good things of the world. For the first pumpkin pie of the season, flanked by a liberal cut of creamy cheeses, we prefer to sit down, as the French gourmand said about his turkey: ‘with just two of us; myself and the turkey.'”-‘The House Mother’

Love-that is all.

This and That


Where did September go (or the summer for that matter)?  There have been a couple of little things that I have been meaning to mention.  So here goes, in no particular order:

1.  On Labour Day weekend, we invited J2’s parents to join us for a beach day and barbeque.  Unfortunately, the weather kept us away from the beach but we still ha a lovely barbeque supper.  J1 who is a wizard at the grill, created new twist on a burger.

When the patties were fully cooked, he placed them on the centre of a flour tortilla, folded it into a hexagon and then placed it back on the barbeque.

The result was a crunchy version of a burger.   Try it sometime.

2. We are almost at the final week of our garden share with Blue Lagoon Organics.  We have especially enjoyed roasted beets with their jackets still on-something that I am not hesitant to do with organic produce.

We also loved pit pat squash.  It is so pretty and so delicious.  But our biggest surprize were Jerusalem artichokes.  The tuber is not grown anywhere near Jerusalem and the veggie is way more akin to a potato than an artichoke.

Recently, they have been referred to as sunchokes perhaps because their yellow flower resembles a sunflower.  When tossed in a little canola oil, roasted and then sprinkled with sea salt, they are absolutely delicious! The texture is like a potato but the taste is both sweeter and nuttier.

3. The last stop of our “Be Well” weekend was at the Blue Moon Saskatoon Orchard near Rossburn, Manitoba.

We enjoyed one last lunch on the farm and I was enthralled with the purple-edged carrots and the addition of Saskatoon preserves to our chicken wraps.

I now cannot imagine a wrap without the sweet inclusion.

I am not inclined to desserts but enjoy jams and jellies with a piece of multi-grain toast after a hearty breakfast at the lake.

Kath’s quote: “This is not that, and that is certainly not this, and at the same time an oyster stew is not stewed, and although they are made of the same things and even cooked almost the same way, an oyster soup should never be called a stew, nor stew soup.”-M.F.K. Fisher

Love-that is all.

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